Our photographers have been busy exploring the intricacies of the Missouri outdoors. See if you can guess this month’s natural wonder.
Q. I have a 3-year-old and 6-year-old, and we are getting cabin fever from being stuck inside so much this winter. Any suggestions on winter activities for the whole family?
A. The Conservation Department has 14 nature and interpretive centers around the state to help you and your family connect with nature, including during the cold winter months. You can learn about wildlife through interesting indoor exhibits or attend an event with hands-on activities or crafts. Some fun events this February include mighty mammals, backyard birds, maple sugaring, nature nuts, and rabbits and rodents. Winter is also a great time for hiking, including on the many trails around the nature centers, but be sure to bundle up.
Q. When and how can I renew my permits for the year?
A. Many hunting and fishing permits expire at the end of February, including 2014 permits for small game, fishing, trout fishing, and combination hunting and fishing permits. The Missouri Department of Conservation reminds hunters and anglers that now is the time to renew permits for 2015. Buying permits is easy, with three options. First is the traditional method of purchasing from a local permit vendor, such as a sporting goods or convenience store or bait shop. The second option is visiting mdc.mo.gov and clicking on “Buy Permits.” The third option is to purchase by calling 800-392-4115 (allow up to 10 days for mail delivery with this option). Commercial permits and lifetime permits require an application. You can download a copy at mdc.mo.gov/node/123, or call Conservation Headquarters at 573-522-4115 to have one mailed to you.
Q. I just turned 65 years old and my neighbor mentioned I no longer need a hunting and fishing permit. Is that true?
A. Missouri residents 65 years of age or older are exempt from needing a small-game hunting permit or a fishing permit. You must carry proof of age and residence with you while hunting or fishing, such as a Missouri driver’s license. However, depending on the type of hunting and fishing that you do, there may be other permits that you still must purchase, such as deer and turkey tags, migratory bird permit, trout permit, and daily trout tag at trout parks. More information can be found online at mdc.mo.gov/permits.
Q. We want to harvest timber on our family farm for the first time. How do we go about this?
A. Remember to “Call Before You Cut” to get professional help from Conservation Department foresters and private consulting foresters. The free service can help maximize your timber income and save on taxes while also increasing the quality, health, and value of your land now and for future generations. We can help you determine if a timber harvest is right for your situation and help you locate a logger for the job. For more information and to receive a free Call Before You Cut packet, call 877-564-7483, or visit callb4ucut.com.
Great horned owls are common statewide and found in many habitats, from deep forests to urban areas. These owls are nocturnal, with sharp eyes and keen hearing. They observe quietly from a high perch and swoop down to catch prey. Breeding occurs in late January or early February, following a few months of hooting. They often appropriate old nests of other large birds or squirrels but can also nest in cavities or other places. Clutches average two eggs, incubation lasts about a month, and young tend to stay near their parents until the next breeding season. Usual prey includes mice, insects, crows, snakes, and rabbits, but great horned owls have been known to take barred owls, wild turkeys, and other larger animals, including skunks. —photograph by Noppadol Paothong
Editor In Chief - Nichole LeClair Terrill
Art Director - Cliff White
Staff Writer/Editor - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Heather Feeler
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Designer - Stephanie Thurber
Circulation - Laura Scheuler